Our very own Dr. John Buckner, Chair of the Genesis PURE Wellness Advisory Board (WAB), is here to share things you can do to live better and longer. It’s February. Winter draws on for some while others are getting a glimpse of spring. It is also Heart Awareness Month and we celebrate Valentine’s Day with a nod toward the romantic side of how we view the human heart.
Did you know that the heart begins beating at four weeks after conception and doesn’t stop until we die? It beats on average 100,000 times a day or 2.5 billion times in a lifetime. It pumps about 2000 gallons of blood each day. The average daily energy output would be equivalent to a truck traveling 20 miles a day. You don’t have to think about it, reboot it, plug it in or even be awake for the heart to do its thing.
The human heart is amazing and yet:
- Heart disease remains the number one killer of Americans.
- There will be 375,000 deaths from heart disease in the U.S. this year.
- Heart disease accounts for one in seven deaths.
- Heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined.
- Heart disease strikes someone in the U.S. every 43 seconds and kills someone in the U.S. every 90 seconds.
- Heart disease accounts for one-third of all deaths globally.
I see people in my office every day who believe heredity is to blame for heart disease. They say things like, “Well Doc, everyone in my family has died early of a heart attack so it’s just a matter of time before I have the “big one” and drop dead like them.”
I notice these people are obese, they never exercise, they have a 48-ounce soda in their hand and a cheeseburger in the other, they smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and, because of all of the aforementioned, they have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Inherited? I don’t buy that for one minute and there is good evidence to back me up.
Now granted, there have been advances in the treatment of heart disease. There are new operations and new minimally invasive interventions involving stents, angioplasty, and new medications. But despite these advanced, heart disease still remains the number one killer. Why? These wonderful advances are just temporarily fixing the problems of abuse of an otherwise incredible machine — the human body.
Imagine you had a luxury vehicle, and you never had it serviced, never changed the oil, used the wrong gas, and never changed the tires. It would start breaking down. Even if you changed a component at a time but continued to ignore major services, it would only be a matter of time before those minor interventions failed and the car was back in the shop. The human body is no different. But, instead of breaking down in a few months or even a year or two, the human heart will run well for 40 or 50 years before it starts breaking down. That’s sad, as it should last longer, considering the things we can do to prevent heart disease.
Here is the good news!
The causes and factors that dramatically increase someone’s risk for developing heart disease are almost all within our control. The American Heart Association (AHA) gauges the heart health of the nation by seven factors. The factors to control heart disease are quite simple, and I want to identify them for you here.
- Stop smoking
- Be physically active
- Embrace a healthy diet
- Control body weight
- Control blood sugar
- Control blood pressure
- Control cholesterol
While heredity and genetics are factors, they are minor, and there are lifestyle modifications we can make to improve our heart health dramatically.
- Stop smoking. If you smoke, you have been warned that it will kill you via a heart attack, stroke or lung cancer.
- Be physically active. Easy enough. You should exert yourself every day. Take the stairs, park farther away, walk 10,000 steps a day (about 5 miles), or run or walk 5 miles if you would rather. Bike, swim, lift weights, do Yoga or Zumba, anything to get your heart rate up. The AHA recommends we do 150 minutes of moderate activity every week, or 30 minutes/5 days a week.
- Embrace a healthy diet. East a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, lean meats and fish (at least twice a week), and make sure to take in omega-3 fatty acids and vegetable proteins, cutting out beverages or foods with added sugar.
- Control body weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. These are all related. Seventy percent of Americans are overweight and one third are obese. The incidence of Metabolic Syndrome, which is essentially all these, are directly related to being overweight as are many other health problems including cancer, stroke, and arthritis.
Let me get more specific.
We know that Omega-3 fatty acids are important. They can be found in foods such as nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and fish.
Electrolytes are critical and knowing that 97 percent of American diets are horribly deficient in potassium, I believe Genesis PURE’s Hydration product is important especially for those who work out.
Drinks and foods with little to no added sugar fall within the AHA guidelines for healthy foods and in fact just this last month a new study lead by Dr Yang from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at 43,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Those reporting consumption of more than 25% of their calories from added sugars had nearly double the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Supplements for heart health:
- Fiber lowers weight and cholesterol
- Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to lower blood pressure
- Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides
- Green tea extract has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
- Vitamin C, D, and B-12 all may play some role in protecting against heart or vascular disease.
- There are studies that indicate pomegranate juice may have protective effects on hardening of the arteries, and there is evidence from laboratory studies that the juice may protect some arteries from stress injuries.
As we celebrate Heart Awareness Month, please be aware that the best gift you can give to those you love is the gift of a healthy heart. Be the perfect example of how to live and eat so those you care about will be around for many years to Love.
Happy Valentines Day!!
Dr. John W. Buckner, M.D. (“Bucky”) is Chair of the Genesis PURE Wellness Advisory Board. He graduated from the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Medicine in 1985. He practices medicine in Springfield, MO and specializes in Surgery. Dr. Buckner is affiliated with Citizens Memorial Hospital District, Select Specialty Hospital and Lester E Cox Medical Center. Dr. Buckner is proud to be part of the Genesis PURE family. He is appreciative of the purity with which the products are made and the passion with which they are distributed. Meet the entire WAB team at http://www.genesispure.com/science-education.